July 20, 2021 | Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, is expanding services to help working lands businesses navigate urgent needs related to COVID-19. Funding to support this programming comes from the State of Vermont, allocated by the Vermont Legislature.
“Offering similar services at the height of the pandemic last year helped businesses connect with critical support resources and access a variety of relief programs,” said the Viability Program’s new Director, Liz Gleason. “We’re excited to be able to offer additional direct services to working lands entrepreneurs to help them navigate a diverse range of pandemic impacts and advance along their path to recovery.”
Beginning in July, the Viability Program will offer coaching to farm, food, and forest products businesses to meet urgent COVID-related needs, in addition to its regular longer-term advising services. Eligible business owners complete a streamlined application to be matched with a professional business advisor. Advisors are able to assist working lands businesses with applying for the recently launched Economic Recovery Bridge Grants through the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development as well as navigating other state and federal relief programs. Support is also available for financial and cash flow planning, navigating market shifts, adapting operations, and other topics.
“Our producers have gone to great lengths to adapt their businesses in response to the pandemic and many are continuing to navigate challenges as well as opportunities. VHCB’s Farm & Forest Viability Program has been integral in advancing Vermont’s working lands economy for nearly two decades and these additional direct services will be a key resource for businesses as they move toward recovery,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Anson Tebbetts.
Commissioner of Forests, Parks & Recreation, Michael Snyder, said, “The pandemic has demonstrated how essential the working lands sector is to Vermonters and our economy. The Viability Program’s efforts to connect forest products and agricultural businesses with coaching and support will help accelerate recovery and build a more resilient economy.”
Applications for the Viability Program’s COVID-related coaching services are currently being accepted. More information and application available at: www.vhcb.org/support-services.
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning, technical assistance, and ownership transfer planning to farm, food and forest products businesses. For more information about the Viability Program, please visit www.vhcb.org/viability.